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US-China Relations

Xinhua Report: Middle East Battlefield Notes: Iraqi KFC Attacked

Xinhua published a report from the middle east named “Middle East Battlefield Notes: KFC in Iraq Attacked.” The following are the excerpts from the report.

Recently, attacks on American businesses have been occurring frequently in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. On May 26, an explosive device was thrown at a KFC on Palestine Street. The next day, a group of masked men armed with guns and clubs vandalized a KFC in the Karada district. On the same day, another American restaurant, Chili House and Lee’s, was also attacked. In the early hours of May 30, a flashbang attack targeted a Caterpillar store in Baghdad. On the evening of June 3, angry protesters stormed the KFC on Palestine Street and vandalized another Chili House and Lee’s restaurant in a different district.

Analysts believe these American businesses have become targets of attacks because of the U.S.’ biased stance towards Israel in the latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. has consistently supported Israel, refusing to adjust its policy or to acknowledge that Israel has crossed a “red line.”

“Since the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. has been indulging Israel, continuously sending arms, and ignoring the fact that Gaza has become a hell on earth. How many more innocent lives must be lost before the US stops?” said Baghdad resident Ali emotionally to the (Chinese) reporter.

Since the outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last October, large and small anti-American protests have been frequently occurring in Baghdad. Iraqi Islamic resistance organizations have launched hundreds of attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq and Syria as well as on Israeli targets. There have been constant demands from the Iraqi government, militia forces, and the public for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. After Israel attacked the Rafah refugee camp, Iraqi Shia religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr called for the closure of the U.S. embassy in Iraq and the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador.

The Iraqis’ anti-American sentiment is as hot as the current 45-degree Celsius heat in Baghdad. The KFC restaurants, instead of welcoming a bustling crowd of customers, have faced wave after wave of attacks by “protesters.” The U.S. government’s unjust stance has forced its businesses to pay the price.

Source: Xinhua, June 5, 2024

Xinhua Denounces Lai Ching-te’s Statement on “Three Chains”

Xinhua News Agency published an article suggesting that the “three chains” statement in the inaugural speech by Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te was a blatant attempt to “seek (Taiwanese) independence” and “sell Taiwan’s interests to the United States.” In his speech, Lai Ching-te said that Taiwan holds a “strategic position in the ‘first island chain'” and is a “highlight of the ‘world democratic chain'” as well as “a key part of the global democratic supply chain.”

The recent Xinhua article stated that the “island chain” is an anti-China concept used to “contain China.” According to the article, the concept of a “world democratic chain” is a joke, as Lai Ching-te is the person least qualified to talk about democracy. The “global democratic supply chain” will drive Taiwan’s economy to a dead end; supply chains have never been about democracy but are rather about efficiency.

The article went on to say that Lai’s “three chains” statement completely exposes Lai Ching-te’s evil intentions of “seeking independence by relying on external forces” and “using democracy to seek independence.” It reveals his sycophantic attitude, acting as a pawn for external forces and aligning with the so-called “democratic camp.” It shows Lai Ching-te’s willingness to sacrifice Taiwan’s interests for American hegemony.

Source: Xinhua, June 5, 2024

Guangming Daily: EU Commission Delays Decision on EV Tariffs, EU Motives Differ From US

Guangming Daily published an article analyzing why the E.U. has delayed its decisions regarding tariffs on Chinese new energy vehicles (electric vehicles). The decision was originally scheduled to be announced on June 5. The E.U. first announced an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese new energy vehicles last September. The U.S. imposed a 100 percent tariff on Chinese electric vehicles in May.

The Guangming Daily article analyzed U.S.-based and E.U.-based media articles related to electric vehicle tariffs, saying that the U.S. and the E.U. have focused on the issue from different angles. Guangming Daily first analyzed reports on Chinese new energy vehicles by two E.U.-based media outlets, Euractiv and POLITICO Europe, finding that their reports from the past month used keywords such as “vehicles,” “sector,” “companies,” and “manufacturing.” In contrast, U.S. media reports on the same topic emphasize keywords related to diplomatic relations such as “tensions,” “relations,” “conflict,” and “politics.”

According to Guangming Daily, the U.S. is particularly concerned with future leadership, while Europe is purely for interests and ideas. In reports on Chinese new energy vehicles, the most frequently co-occurring words in U.S. media are “leadership,” “dominance,” and “foreign.” In European media, the words most frequently associated with “competition” are “fairness,” “domestic,” and “autonomy.”

The article additionally commented that Europe needs to support its domestic enterprises, which in turn relies on the assistance of the Chinese market and Chinese investment. For Europe’s large automobile manufacturers, China remains their largest single market, with Germany being a typical example. Moreover, Chinese new energy vehicle companies establishing factories in Germany have introduced new technological collaborations in areas such as intelligent battery swapping, smart transportation, and autonomous driving. Automotive manufacturers in France, Spain, and other EU countries are also replicating the “German model” by cooperating with China.

Source: Guangming, June 5, 2024

China Releases “2023 Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States”

On May 29th, China’s State Council Information Office released a “2023 Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States.” The following are some highlights from the report:

In 2023, the human rights situation in the U.S. continued to deteriorate. Some 76 percent of Americans believe their country is heading in the wrong direction.

Intense partisan fights, governmental dysfunction, and ineffective governance have resulted in the inability to effectively protect civil and political rights. Mass shootings remain rampant, with approximately 43,000 people dead from gun violence [in 2023], averaging 117 deaths per day. Police brutality is rampant, with at least 1,247 people dying due to police violence in 2023, the highest number since 2013. Although the U.S. population accounts for less than 5 percent of the global population, it holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, truly making it a “prison nation.” Partisan strife continues to intensify, with elections manipulated by gerrymandering and with two “house speaker election debacles” in the U.S. House of Representatives. Only 16 percent of surveyed Americans expressed that they trust the federal government.

Racism is deeply rooted in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of Asian Americans report facing racial discrimination, and the “China Initiative” targeting Chinese scientists has had far-reaching negative impacts.

The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is widening, with the “working poor” phenomenon becoming more prominent and with economic and social rights protection systems failing.

Women’s and children’s rights in the United States have long been systematically violated.

Despite being a nation historically and presently benefiting from immigrants, the U.S. has severe issues of exclusion and discrimination against immigrants.

The U.S. has long practiced hegemony, pursuing power politics, and abusing military force and unilateral sanctions. It continues to export weapons such as cluster munitions to other countries. This has exacerbated regional tensions and armed conflicts, causing numerous civilian casualties and severe humanitarian crises. Moreover, the U.S. has carried out extensive “foreign agent” operations, destabilizing other societies and infringing on their human rights. To this day, it refuses to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Source: People’s Daily, May 29, 2024

Beijing Sanctions U.S. Defense Contractors and Congressman Mike Gallagher

On May 20, Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te was sworn into office. On the same day, Beijing announced sanctions against three American defense contractors: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, and Boeing Defense, Space & Security, for their involvement in arms sales to Taiwan.

On the next day, Beijing announced sanctions against Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, who served as the Chairman of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party before resigning in April this year. The Chinese government said it will “freeze” Gallagher’s movable and immovable assets and other types of property within China; prohibit Chinese organizations and individuals from engaging in transactions, cooperation, or other activities with him; and deny him a visa and entry into China.

Gallagher, 40, has served as a federal congressman from Wisconsin since 2017. He is a staunch China hawk, having strongly condemned Beijing’s malign policies and practices, and having repeatedly expressed firm support for Taiwan. In February of this year, Gallagher led a delegation from the U.S. Congress to visit Taiwan, meeting with then-President Tsai Ing-wen and President-elect Lai Ching-te.

Source: VOA, May 21, 2024

TikTok Possibly Planning Layoffs

Well-known Chinese news site Sohu (NASDAQ: SOHU) recently published an article saying that “informed sources” have said TikTok is planning large-scale layoffs. Specifically, TikTok’s global user operations department is facing dissolution. “A large part” of the department’s 1,000 employees will be affected by the layoffs, and the remaining employees will be reallocated to content, products, marketing, and security departments. The reasons for these potential layoffs, as well as the specific number of employees to be let go, are currently unclear. TikTok has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Some employees already received termination notices as early as the evening of May 21. TikTok has rarely conducted large-scale layoffs in the past. The move is indicative of the company’s strategy in the face of huge pressures — it intends to cut operating costs and seek long-term strategic changes.

On April 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill requiring the TikTok platform to divest from its Chinese parent company ByteDance before a nine-month deadline. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in TikTok being banned from operating in the United States. The bill has been signed into law by President Biden. TikTok responded by calling the new law unconstitutional and filing a lawsuit in early May.

TikTok’s performance in the field of non-game applications was outstanding in 2023, with its in-app purchase revenue reaching US$4 billion, ranking first among non-game applications. TikTok’s lifetime cumulative revenue has exceeded the US$10 billion mark, with 80 percent of its revenue coming from the U.S. market.

Source: Sohu, May 23, 2024

Xinhua: U.S. is the Real Creator and Exacerbator of Ukraine Crisis

On May 11, Xinhua published a critical commentary saying that the U.S. is the creator and exacerbator of the Ukraine crisis and declaring that China is innocent on the matter. The below is a partial translation of the article.

The crisis in Ukraine, ongoing for over two years, is chiefly attributed to the United States’ geopolitical ambitions. Viewing NATO as a tool for hegemony, the US spearheaded NATO’s eastward expansion, disregarding Russia’s security concerns and pushing for Ukraine’s integration into NATO. By persistently exacerbating the crisis, the US aims to maintain its global dominance. Providing significant military aid to Ukraine, it has fostered a proxy war against Russia, leveraging the turmoil to bolster its geopolitical interests and its sales of natural gas and arms. However, the U.S.’s motivations lie not in concern for Ukrainian well-being or global stability, but in preserving the hegemonic status of the U.S. By crafting a “Ukraine trap,” it has sought to entangle Russia and assert control over Europe, ultimately reshaping the global geopolitical landscape to its advantage.

The U.S. is well aware of its role in the Ukrainian crisis. However, because of this, the guilt-ridden U.S. continually shifts blame and deflects attention regarding the crisis. Not only has it spread false information following the eruption of the crisis, blaming Russia on all counts, but the U.S. has also attempted to unfairly implicate China, which has no connection to the crisis. Recently, the U.S. has absurdly claimed that China helped Russia establish the Russian defense industry. Before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China, the U.S. even threatened to sanction Chinese banks so as to hinder China’s ability to support Russian military production. China’s stance is clear: it is neither the creator of the Ukraine crisis, nor is it involved, and China has not engaged in any opportunistic behavior. China will not shoulder blame nor pay for others’ actions. The U.S. should stop smearing and pressuring China, and it should cease its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies. Such irresponsible and deceitful behavior by the U.S. will only exacerbate the crisis, damage its own reputation, and backfire.

Source: Xinhua, May 11, 2024

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Increased US Tariffs

The Biden administration recently announced increased tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and other products. On May 15, Wang Yi, China’s Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a harsh response to a reporter’s question on the topic.

“Everyone has seen that for some time now, the U.S. has frequently imposed unilateral sanctions on China, abused Section 301 tariffs, and almost madly suppressed China’s normal economic, trade, and technological activities. This is the most typical hegemonic bullying in the world today! It shows that some people in the U.S. have reached the point of losing their minds in order to maintain their one-sided hegemony. The U.S.’ suppression of China by any means does not demonstrate America’s strength, but instead exposes the U.S.’ lack of confidence and confusion; it cannot solve the problems inside the U.S., but will instead further disrupt the normal operation of the international production and supply chain; it cannot stop China’s development and revitalization, but will instead inspire the 1.4 billion Chinese people to work even harder.

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) has clearly concluded that the U.S. Section 301 tariffs violate WTO rules and are acts that violate international law. International trade professionals with basic common sense all believe that the U.S.’ actions are harmful to others while not offering any benefits to the U.S. itself. As one of the WTO founders, the U.S. not only refuses to set a good example but also leads the way in violating WTO rules. Instead of correcting its mistakes, the U.S. continues to compound them. How can the U.S. explain the idea of “fair competition” that it touts? How can it gain the trust of the international community?

“Unilateral actions and protectionism go against the current trend and will surely be crushed by the wheels of history. At this critical moment of global economic recovery, the international community needs to warn the U.S. against creating more troubles for the world going forward.”

Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a comparatively mild response at the news briefing on May 15:

“I want to emphasize that the U.S. is compounding its own mistakes by politicizing economic and trade issues via further increased tariffs on China. These actions will only result in significantly raised costs of imported goods, causing American businesses and consumers to bear more losses and imposing a greater burden on American consumers.

“We urge the U.S. to earnestly abide by the rules of the WTO and immediately lift the tariffs imposed on China. China will take all necessary measures to defend its own rights and interests.”

1. Foreign Affairs Ministry website, May 15, 2024
2. Xinhua, May 15, 2024